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Land deal: Court orders probe, Cardinal denies charges 

By : Matters India Reporter

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on March 6 ordered a police probe against Cardinal George Alencherry and three others in connection with the sale of Church land that allegedly caused millions of rupees of loss to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly.

However on the same day, the cardinal’s office in a circular denied any violation of civil or canonical law in the land deal. The circular stated the cardinal has authority and rights to sell the land on behalf of the archdiocese as a juridic person.

The court ordered the police to file a case against Cardinal Alencherry, Fathers Joshy Puthuva, the archdiocese’s procurator, Sebastian Vadakumpadan, in-charge of the archdiocese’s estates, and Saju Varghese, the realtor for the land sale.

The order came on a petition filed by Shine Varghese alleging that the deals were conducted without transparency that led to the loss of millions of rupees for the Church and evasion of taxes.

In 2016, the archdiocese had sold a three-acre plot in Kochi to repay 600 million rupees it had loaned from a bank to construct a medical college. The agent appointed by the archdiocese to facilitate the deal had estimated the land value at 273 million rupees, but the petitioner claimed that the real value was at least 800 million rupees.

The High Court observed that the documents submitted by the petitioner indicate conspiracy, betrayal and financial manipulations in the land deal. The court also stated that the archdiocese’s assets belong to its people and that the cardinal is only their representative.

The court while directing a police investigation, commented that the cardinal is not “a king” and that he is subject to the law of the country.

The police is expected to soon file a First Information Report.

The cardinal’s office clarified that the land sale was intended to clear the archdiocese’s debts and that it was done through the procurator after deliberations within the canonical committees. Allegation to the contrary are baseless, adds the press release issued by the Public Relations Office of the archdiocese.

While accepting that the lack of due care and judgment in the financial dealings has led to the current problems, the press release states that measures are being taken to rectify the deficits. It also says the cardinal is now studying the report of a commission he had appointed to investigate the land deal.

The circular asserts that court directions do not confirm the petitioner’s allegations, but only give direction to the police to probe any irregularities. The cardinal will decide further actions in consultation with others, after he receives the court order.

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2 Responses to Land deal: Court orders probe, Cardinal denies charges

  1. Thankapan vaidhyar

    It is painful to hear that the prince, the cardinal is not a king in Kerala.
    Moral:The head of the Syro Malabar is supposed to be known only as Major Archbishop, rest president of cbci getting cardinal ship all should have kept only as secondary or third. Unfortunate the present wished to be addressed as cardinal.. And the post being the father of church, like Pope should have taken a new name atleast rejected house name which is cause of sectarianism.

    Now It is found Major Arch Bishop is a single man without the emotional support of the millions of his church’s followers, expect some unemotional groups like synodal selected members, who directly received faveritism by the cardinal.

    He is wearing inculturate dress of Hindus ( Rudrasha Mala, and he has permitted to tie Ragi in his holy office, the center of that church, to express the symbol of pure brotherhood. Where are those ladies when he is in tormoil?). He pleased Hindu community but they to rejected him as moral back up is in scare to find…. How much he should have company with Christian community? The the genuine Catholics with real charism? Syromalabar church has produced many good persons, but non of them are in the main stream of the church affairs to support as they were kept always back, the retreat centres, retiard catholic govt officials. Most of them have to work outside syromalabar jurisdiction for successful ministry, aakashaparavakal, shallom channel, fiat mission, Jesus youth etc.. Are some of them… Because it’s bishops and priests and religious fathers and sisters never promot rather kill them in its bud..
    Where did this bishops learned malpractices in holy church circle… Sure it is not from the money collected from Parishes for that is under public audit.
    For long time a department called social work, name with another registered society, which created for great purposes in the dioceses under the bishops. But it has spoiled because bishops are given supreme power to handle it. Billions of amount has come to dioceses all throughout, through caritas India like agencies but not yet much visible success expect in few diocese by genuine bishops. The funding agencies fed up of bishops’ malpractices, the irresponsibility and careless in handling huge amount… But they were unquestioned for decades. So main stream church is in slumber… Concerning this kind of matters. It has become a habit for the finance department of the diocese to settle matters immorally and non-transparent . Now the so called issues are started to open from the top of the church. Jesus will permit it to the lower sides to soon. The bishops mostly appoint young priests with less experience and unqualified not to challange his acts… Bishops never care canon law, because most of them are not canonists as it was the catholic tradition. Bishops appoint chancellors the less experienced ones and transfer them occasionally as not be questioned by any…
    When Bishops strugling with senior priest’s domination
    Could be some wicked, money making ‘religious’ trainers proposed the bishops to behave with a new gene pattern to appoint junior priests in big posts and thrush the senior persons who are challange to bishops’ free moves… Because the power of bishop is in appointment and transfer.
    The wounded personals of religious congregations looking for an opportunity to humiliate the church authority.. CRI never spoke a word in this matter is a crucial point… Sure they will have laughter meetings on the fall of the cardinal in tables now and in general in its burial they will be in the front line with flowers as queuing when cardinal was appointed.
    The priests and bishops were seems not taken into confidence in ernakulam by the cardinal, which may be a impossible mission, but being a good deplomatic it was not the way…
    We never heard any groups from different parts of the world stood in social media to safe guard the cardinals possion, even tribal Madhu and nurses got better support than this issue as the people find it not at all transparent.
    May god bless any one lay man to become cardinal. Bishops and priests are found non acceptable by this time… may the church be strengthened with new vigour and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit…

  2. chhotebhai

    Looks like the chickens are coming home to roost.The Code of Canon Law has clear cut provisions for Finance Committees at both diocesan and parish levels. I am sure that the Oriental Code has similar provisions.The fact that such canonical provisions are not followed in itself raises suspicion that “something is rotten in Denmark”.

    A few years ago there was a similar scandal in Ranchi, again pertaining to the construction of a medical college.

    It is good that the High Court has observed that the cardinal is not a “king”, but only a custodian of public property. This case must be followed to its logical conclusion.

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